Tag Archives: Spiritual Maturity

Picture of Perfection

Biblical Text: Ephesians 4:1-16 NLT
Full Sermon Draft

Picture of Perfection might not be the best title for this, although that is where is ends up. Maybe the path of maturity, or Growing to fullness. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians makes the switch that his letters often do in the second half. He has a main point to express which has been the last three weeks of chapters 1-3. The sermon does a quick recap of that before digging in. The back half of Paul’s letters turn to concrete practical matters. How does the theology that he’s just proclaimed become real in our lives both personal and congregational. In the case of Ephesians how does every spiritual gift that builds us together look?

It starts with love. It is helped by the concrete gifts of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. And when is all strives toward maturity, we get a picture of the perfection or the completion intended. A church not blown astray or led away by some pied piper because it is perfectly fit together in the bond of love. This sermon expands on this growth to maturity.

Walking the Right Way


Text: Mark 3:20-35
Full Draft

This past Sunday we sang one of the most haunting hymns in the Lutheran Tradition – I Walk in Danger All the Way. It is one of those songs where the melody is clear and rather light, but the words are deep. It has a history within the LCMS as it was sung on the floor of a Synodical convention after a particularly ugly fight. My guess is that those there took the wrong message from its words. If I was picking my 10 favorite, this on has a place on that list. But we rarely pick it for the congregation because I think the words are just too far removed from comfortable American middle class existence. We live a daily existence that is largely materialist. Rarely do we give a nod to spiritual things outside of maybe Sunday mornings or that odd deja vu/coincidence. The third stanza talks about death. That is breaking the rules in the United States. It takes those three stanzas to make a turn and the fourth starts to remind us of the gospel. Basically my gut tells me when I have the congregation sing it, in one sense I’m putting falsehoods on their lips. Not that the words are false, just that we don’t feel them.

So what does that have to do with the sermon. Well, that hymn is a hymn of spiritual maturity. The text is a call to belief, and not just to belief, but discipleship. It presents us with three groups of people and puts on Jesus lips the challenge to do the will of the Father. The text doesn’t use the metaphor, but the disciple Walks with the Lord. And that is not always easy. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death (stanza 3), but we fear no evil (stanza 5). The mature Christian will accept that walk.